My birthday? Awesome. How awesome? On a scale of one to awesome, it was like a bajillion zillion and a half.
And it had some mighty, mighty competition from the past few years--observe!
Nineteen: Beirut, balloons, and a paper banner with a nickname I'd rather not repeat strung across the ceiling of a quad in South. Pretty sure we lugged Winston's keyboard across campus that night too, because that's the kind of crazy freshmen we were, right!? I drop my new camera in the snow and proceed to lose its memory card--remarkably, the camera lasts for another two years, even when I have to tape the battery door shut.
Twenty: TOGA PARTY TOGA PARTY TOGA PARTY. We play Kings but call it Emperors. I do not take pictures because I am busy passing out face-down on a couch. It was awesome.
Twenty-one: "We were on a pub crawl in Berlin, dragged from what was supposed to be 4 bars and a nightclub, but I only made it to Bar #3 before collapsing in a bathroom until some Angel of Light rescued me and put me in a cab. But before that fantastic catastrophe, we made friends with Spaniards who couldn't speak a word of English but kissed us all when we left, I put in a request for 'Someone Great' and danced by my lonesome, an Australian bought me a Jagerbomb, had Jager poured down our throats under a train bridge, and did I mention Johanna and Jamie were there? When I erupted back into the hostel room, miraculously alive and semi-coherent, our sober compadre Tommy took notes on our drunken shenanigans, and the best and truest quote of the night was this: "It was great. I do not remember 75% of it." (from the oft-references study abroad blog of 2008).
Twenty-two: SURPRISE PARTY SURPRISE PARTY SURPRISE PARTY. As documented earlier on this here blog-a-log, I'd decided not to try and throw a party, opting instead for a quiet weekend of Indian food and never-getting-out-of-bed with Rob, and then I am summoned downstairs and GOOD LORD EVERYONE I KNOW IS HERE AND THERE IS A CAKE! I think 4 a.m. hit and I was outside smoking and telling everyone, "You know, I love you guys, like, this is like, the most greatest--I just want to say, I mean, I know it sounds silly--" And everyone nodded politely because I was hammered and it was my birthday.
Compare these to earlier birthdays, one at SkateWorld in Tulsa when I was so concerned with whether I would get in trouble for wearing my hat (which was denim with a big bow because it was 1995) that I didn't have much fun because there was a big sign expressly forbidding hat-wearing--not to mention I did not know how to skate. I still don't. In high school, I got kidnapped by my friends once, which was pretty awesome except for the part when someone forgot to push my head down before throwing me into the van, and since I had a sheet over my head, I basically gave myself a concussion. Then we went to the arcade and all piled into the photobooth. It was pretty adorable, even with the headache.
But this year--lordy!
So remember that last post, the one where I was all "Yeah I need to lose weight but I'm so cool with it I am like totally okay with this yeah yeah"--absolute lies. As soon as I hit Publish Post, the shit hit the fan in a bad, bad way. The whole thing was just enormously daunting, the numbers, the tracking, thinking I am going to be doing this for a long, long time--but really, there's no good time to get in shape, just like there's no good time to quit smoking--but it's something you have to do, because there's no reason for you not to. And like I said before--I want boots, dammit. Boots.
On Friday it all fell apart. I got out of bed, looked at all the program materials--the cute little journal, the little slide rule calculator, the overlit photographs of no-fat mayonnaise and glistening baby carrots--and promptly got back in bed and stayed there. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't.
Rob, meanwhile, baked cookies. I emerge from the cave of our dim, depressing bedroom having slept through the entire afternoon, sit in front of the TV and try to be calm and rational and not insane and hateful and terrified, and Rob comes home and in standard Rob is the Best Boy Ever fashion, says to me, "I'm taking you out tonight. I won't take no for an answer."
We've been trying really, really hard to be more frugal about food, so I instated a no-eating-out ultimatum to last between Rob's birthday dinner and mine--which was only two weeks, but which would be the longest we'd spent eating in since we moved here. Even the George Foreman Grill couldn't break the monotony.
So dinnertime hits and we go out, to a fancy-pants restaurant downtown that serves amazing bread and amazing salads and amazing gorgonzola-bacon-spinach dip, and it's such a nice date that I feel around 1000x better already. I suggest we see a movie, which starts at 10--it's around 9:15, check paid, waitress tipped, and Rob says sure, let's go to a movie, but I want to go home and eat a cookie.
This does not trigger any warning signs because Rob's cookies are really, really good.
So we get home, and we park, and we open the door, and it's very dark, and then of course what do you know
THERE ARE PEOPLE HIDING IN OUR HOUSE AND THEY ARE THROWING BALLOONS AT ME AND THERE IS A CAKE AND CANDLES AND BEER AND HOLY SHIT HOW DID YOU GUYS GET IN HERE!?
That's about how my thoughts went.
And then, you know, the usual--we go out, we get drunk, I say absurd things and become very indignant when my second double vodka-tonic gets cleared away when I was certainly not done with it, never mind that I am way past drunk already. All in all it was super-duper fabulous fantastic and made me happier than I could've imagined. And it's corny, but I've only been here in Wilmington for six months, and yet there were people who like me (or at least like surprises and drinking) enough to crouch in my house for 20 minutes and get me a cake. It meant a lot to me.
And the next day, it was a hell of a lot easier to wake up, and get up, and stay up, and say "All right. Let's rock this bitch. I'm getting me some boots if it kills me." And then I emitted forth a fearsome battle cry and ravaged the refrigerator of its terrible unhealthy, non-nutritious contents! I bought some motherfuckin' berries, and I had those fucks for breakfast! Rice cakes and tomato slices! Bran flakes and yogurt! Chicken noodle soup motherfuckers!
No, I didn't do this. I was far too hungover.
What I did do was lay around all day with Rob, and we went on a walk in the cold around our fantastic neighborhood that I love so much, and then we went and watched a movie with friends, and then we went to bed. And it wasn't even my birthday yet!
That, friends, was yesterday, and it was a day of pure, undiluted glory. Behold!
I talk to both my folks who both get nostalgic about my birth, my father reminding me that I had the biggest, bluest eyes he'd ever seen on a newborn, my mom about how she didn't believe I was a girl even after, you know, I was present in the world and obviously not a boy. How my brother could have cared less about me but was fascinated by the hospital bed's up-and-down functions--he was 2, so I guess I forgive him.
Then Rob, who has graciously taken the day off, takes me downtown, allegedly to go to the Serpentarium. Did you know Wilmington has a Serpentarium? It does. What is a Serpentarium? A building full of super deadly snakes.
Sadly the Serpentarium was closed, or at least locked, but there was a WILL RETURN BY sign up, so we decide to walk around downtown because oh yeah I forgot to mention it was February and the sky was blue and it was like 60 degrees and gorgeous outside. Not to mention downtown is charming as can be--old store fronts, little boutiques, ice cream parlors, bars and bars and bars, and, yes, horse-drawn carriage tours. We are minding our own business, ambling a long, and then this little, magical-looking man in a top hat and tails standing beside one of these carriages flags us over, and we try to decline, politely, those tours are expensive, when he explains they're shooting promo materials for their Valentine's Day special offers, would we mind modeling?
"We'll give you a free tour if you do!"
Oh hell yes I was sold. So we spend about 20 minutes posing and smooching and pretending we just got engaged (eek) and this man snaps our pictures and films us riding around all full of joy and happiness, and then he thanks us for our time, and then we take a real bona fide carriage tour around the historic district, looking at all the fancy houses, learning all these koooky architectural terms from a goofy dude in a knee-length gold-button coat and ponytail, and Rob and I realize how great it is to live here, in this place that has these big trees and colonial houses and brick streets and wraparound porches where the sun shines in February plus there's a Serpentarium plus have I mentioned the ocean is like right there, and it is altogether splendid and great.
Then I got my free smoothie at Smoothie King and then I went to class and then it was today. 23! You sure know how to treat a girl right.